• Jerwood/Photoworks Awards 2020 installation view at Jerwood Arts, January 2019 (Photo © Anna Arca)

  • © Silvia Rosi, Self Portrait As My Mother In School Uniform, 2019

  • © Theo Simpson, 17, 2019

Now open: Jerwood/Photoworks Awards 2020

New photographic commissions by artists Silvia Rosi and Theo Simpson are now on show as part of the Jerwood/Photoworks Awards 2020 at Jerwood Arts, London. The exhibition continues until 7 March 2020. 

The Jerwood/Photoworks Awards support photographers, or artists using photography, to make new work and significantly develop their practice. The Awards particularly seek to encourage artists and photographers exploring new approaches to photography, and/or whose practice is experimental.

Silvia Rosi and Theo Simpson were selected from over 450 submissions in response to an open call to UK-based artists using photography and within 10 years of establishing their practice.

The selection panel for the Jerwood/Photoworks Awards 2020 was Aaron Schuman, artist; Marta Weiss, Senior Curator, Photographs, V&A; Shama Khanna, freelance curator, and writer; Shoair Mavlian, Director, Photoworks; and Lilli Geissendorfer, Director, Jerwood Arts.

Each artist received £10,000 to develop new work, a production fund of £5,000, and in kind printing from Spectrum Photographic. They have also undertaken a year of developmental mentoring from Renée Mussai, Senior Curator and Head of Archive and Research, Autograph; and Roger Palmer, photographer; and received additional support from Jerwood Arts and Photoworks. Following the exhibition at Jerwood Arts, the works will tour across the UK including to Belfast Exposed (4 March – 24 April 2021); and Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow (3 July – 12 Sept 2021). Other tour dates and venues are yet to be announced.

A free events programme hosted at Jerwood Arts and a full-colour publication including newly commissioned writing about the artists’ work will accompany the exhibition.

Silvia Rosi

Silvia Rosi’s Encounter is a fictional representation of her family album, exploring tales of migration and diaspora through self-portraiture, performance and symbolism.

Inspired by an image from her own family album, of her young mother as a market trader in Lomé Togo, Rosi retraced her parents’ journey of migration from Togo to Italy. This is a story that is both deeply personal and at the same time universal.

With her mother as source and muse, Rosi performs her family narrative recreating both visual and oral histories through the combination of photography, text, and video. She references the aesthetics of West African studio portraits through the use of backdrops and props. The act of head carrying, a skill traditionally passed on from mother to daughter, is central to the work, learned and performed by Rosi in an attempt to regain a tradition that has been lost through migration and her position as a European.

Encounter is a homage to the family album, an object which is in constant transformation and recontextualization as time passes and relationships progress. For this exhibition, her work will include new examples of colour and black and white photography, as well as works where she explores working with video for the first time.

© Silvia Rosi, Self Portrait as my Father, 2019

© Silvia Rosi, Angelique, 2019

© Silvia Rosi, Self Portrait As My Mother, 2019

Theo Simpson

Living and working primarily in the North of England, Theo Simpson draws on his everyday environment, investigating how the typology of the landscape, technological innovation, history, and past political events help shape current and future events.

Rooted in the traditions of minimalism and abstraction, Simpson’s work Dark Interlude reimagines the natural and industrial landscape, offering new perspectives on land traditionally associated with industry. The past and the present are intertwined through the reworking of archival images highlighting key historical moments, including a protest against Britain joining the European Economic Community from 1971 and the miners’ strikes in 1984.

Angular lines or ‘fractures’ are present throughout the exhibition and could be read as a metaphor for a land divided; geographically, socially, economically and ideologically. The unknown space between the fractures is equally as important as the image itself, referring to the loss of understanding or truth.

Rather than forming an individually defined series Simpson’s practice is fluid, building a continuous and ongoing body of work over time which is edited to fit the exhibition space. Each piece is self-contained, made both by hand and by machine and incorporates photography, sculpture, drawing, and printmaking with engineering and industrial manufacturing techniques.

Simpson also references the interdependent relationship between man, machine, nature, and technology, citing the idea that ‘the things that man produces will one day be his enemy’ (Karl Marx, 1844). This is something which is particularly important at a time when human production, consumption, technology, and the environment are so heavily intertwined.

© Theo Simpson, World of things, 2019

© Theo Simpson, Third Shock, 2019

© Theo Simpson, Circle, Sphere, Cone, 2019

For more information about how to apply for the awards, or event information, use the links below.

Get information about attending related Jerwood/Photoworks Awards Events

Find out more about the Awards